More 911 callers are getting ride-shares after launch of MEDIC initiative

CHARLOTTE — More people are calling 911 and getting a ride-share instead of an ambulance in Mecklenburg County.

Last October, MEDIC started a program that would give some callers the option to take a ride-share to the hospital.

Over the past year, MEDIC says about 500 people opted for a ride-share. The program has now expanded to include both Lyft and Uber, so a caller has more options to get a driver faster.

The ride-share is only offered to certain callers who don’t need immediate medical care.

“The response we get from patients is mixed, right. A lot of people still do want an ambulance. And we do offer that,” said Matt Lewis with Mecklenburg EMS. “If they deny or decline the ride-share option, we’ll still respond with an ambulance. But most of it has been positive. They do sense there is a financial benefit to them them as well as a quicker response with a rideshare option.”

MEDIC has been covering the cost of the ride-shares. Each trip costs around $11.

The ride-share option is just one strategy MEDIC is using to combat its staffing shortages. The agency is currently short 65 paramedics and EMTs.

(WATCH BELOW: Meck County grants MEDIC more than $700K in federal funding)

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